EU sends soldiers to help in relief operations after Bosnia floods

SARAJEVO Thu May 29, 2014 5:40am EDT

People dig out a buried car after floods and landslides in Topcic Polje May 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

People dig out a buried car after floods and landslides in Topcic Polje May 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

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SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Around 400 soldiers from Austria, Slovenia and the United Kingdom will join the EU peacekeeping mission in Bosnia this week to help conduct relief operations after the worst floods in living memory hit the country, EUFOR said on Wednesday.

More than 50 people were killed by flooding and landslides in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia. The heaviest rainfall in more than a century had caused rivers to burst their banks, sweeping away roads, bridges and homes.

EUFOR took over from NATO in 2004 military implementation of the Dayton peace accords, which ended Bosnia's 1992-95 war. It now comprises around 640 soldiers from 22 countries.

Three companies of around 140 men from Austria, Slovenia and the United Kingdom will start arriving in Bosnia from Friday to help Bosnia's armed forces conduct disaster relief operations, after nearly one million people were displaced by flooding.

"They were coming anyway for a previously planned exercise but will now be deployed in relief operations," EUFOR spokesman Jim Love told Reuters.

Over the past weeks, EUFOR helicopters evacuated over 800 people from the worst hit areas.

(EUFOR corrects contributing nation to Slovenia, not Slovakia)

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Larry King)

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